During Lent we will be reposting some excellent articles from our archives. As we struggle with the aftermath of another school shooting in the US, Brian Blount’s words from 2014 are relevant again. He reflected on fear as APCE looked toward the Annual Event in Baltimore. This article originally appeared in our September 2014 digital issue. Fear not! Yeah, right. Good advice. Unrealistic expectation. There is simply too much of which we are and, really, … Read More
Writing in the Margins: Connecting with God on the Pages of your Bible began with a prayer. After the death of Rich Gordon, his family entrusted me with his Bible. I quickly learned he was a margin writer. For years I thought about the notes and prayers he had written into scripture. I began to wonder how this scriptural discipline he loved, and was shaped by, might be shared with others so they could learn … Read More
Many churches have a practice of giving a Bible to a child or to a family. The most common occasion is the beginning of the school year when a child is entering second or third grade. This recognizes their growing ability to read and comprehend stories. Then often a second Bible is given to a teenager at either the beginning or completion of confirmation. Less common is the giving of a Bible storybook appropriate for very young children, which some congregations give at birth/adoption or at baptism or dedication. Sometimes these important practices need some reconsideration and updating. Here are some suggestions to consider as you review the tradition of your congregation.
A former student told me this story about a conversation overheard at her seminary. A classmate said that she had always loved Roman Catholic cathedrals: dim and cool and beautiful, illumined with jewel-colored stained glass, they had always felt to her like holy places. Her professor replied, “I prefer the hard, clear light of reason.” In that exchange, I think, is everything that is wrong with Protestantism. We sometimes treat people as though they were … Read More
Few texts in the Bible demonstrate the concept of nurture as clearly as Luke’s story of Philip and the Ethiopian official in Acts 8:26-40. For some it’s a story of conversion, for others an example of evangelism, but for me it’s a classic demonstration of how nurturing faith happens–in candid conversation and honest sharing. Philip wasn’t one of the original twelve disciples, but he was one of the seven original deacons appointed by the disciples … Read More